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Overcoming the Barriers of Art

Painting by Richard Munoz

A few weekends ago I was inspired by Second Saturday in Midtown, how it helps local talent overcome barriers. Art itself can be a direct expression, but in order to have the opportunity to communicate with an audience, the artist must have a venue then must overcome the noise of society to stand out and be perceived in a crowd of messages. For the artists connected with Second Saturday, local business owners help them overcome the first major barrier. The art that captures people’s attention comes down to the art itself. The paintings that caught my attention for SacTV.com were the ones with not only bright colors, but expressions beyond the norm that communicated a vibrant sense of community progress, such as the art of John Huerta and Robert LaNeau.  

Over the weekend I interviewed commercial make-up artist Richard Munoz at William Pond Park. He explained a story similar to many artists who I know. He does one form of art for a living to support his deeper passion of another form of art. Richard started as a fine arts painter, as the image with this article shows. Art was his personal form of expression to overcome a childhood in which he was abused. Over time he learned to channel his artistic endeavors in the commercial world, as he has developed as an independent make-up artist, working with advertising agencies and helping politicians look good for TV commercials. Sometimes he gets to use a lot of creativity, while other times he has to follow strict guidelines. 

Richard has been working as a freelance make-up artist for 12 years. While many jobs can take the entire day, he still finds time to work on his paintings. He still loves his work, since it involves art in the form of make-up, hair style and wardrobe. Art was something he learned as a vehicle of self-expression that helped raise his self-confidence as a person. It’s amazing how art can be the solution to many problems in society yet it comes with so many barriers attached. Why can’t something so powerful and meaningful be someone’s full time career? The answer seems to be that for many years art was pushed aside by the business world as secondary to business, but in the new century it is emerging as a more serious connection to culture and commerce. The business minds that dictated that art is the opposite of business were simply wrong all along, especially in the age of digital art.

Over the weekend I also saw local singer-songwriter Doug Cash perform at Vintner’s Cellar. Doug was able to overcome a few artistic barriers with ease. He showed up as a guest for Ken Koenig’s gig, which involved a simple sound system setup where all he had to do was plug in his guitar and start singing. Doug also has a strong voice that projects and cuts through crowd noise with or without a microphone. As he explained to me in our interview, he takes the approach of artists like Stevie Wonder or gospel artists, who use an open throat delivery that allows musical messages to be more loud and clear. His songs were exactly what I wanted to hear, which were tuneful positive messages that open minds and point to art as a solution instead of a problem. 

A lot has changed it the world of art over the last 20 years, especially in Sacramento. It took a long time for the city to develop an artistic vision. The Crocker Art Museum went through hurdles to become one of the largest art museums in the nation, just as Sacramento International Airport overcame barriers to become a very artistic airport. The trend seems to continue to point toward art becoming more accepted as part of the business world, and not so much an opposition to it. The warped idea that a song or painting can’t have a meaningful message to be commercially viable is finally falling into the past, as artists who do have something to say are finding avenues to say it. 

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